All posts by pgtech

Does your pool have a leak?

The concept of a swimming pool  is pretty simple to most. You build a pool, you fill it with water and you expect it to retain the water. From there you use a mix of chemicals and filtration to maintain the water and keep things safe and healthy.

That should take care of any leaking, right? Well that’s not necessarily the case. Pools lose water frequently – whether it comes from splashing and play to evaporation. But sometimes the underlying issue can be more serious and when that’s the case you’ll need the assistance of a professional.

How and why pools leak

Every swimming pool leaks – least least a little bit. There’s too much going on and too much that can happen for your pool to not lose water in some way or manner. Even concrete – which is the most common type of substance used to make a pool – is relatively porous in terms of its composition. Then once you mix in all the piping, connections and everything that goes into the filter, heater, pump and the like -there’s always a chance for leaks. Managing it is all part of owning a pool. It’s pretty normal, for the most part.

When should I be worried?

Water loss is normal and acceptable however too much water loss can be a big, red flag that there could be a serious, underlying issue afoot. The problem with significant water loss is that by the time you identify the loss, chances are you’ll already be at a point where a professionals services will be 100% required. And getting a pro in to do a serious diagnosis needs to be your #1 priority because letting it go could lead to even more problems elsewhere.

So where do I go from here?

Once a pro comes to your home they’re going to run a bunch of tests to see where the leak is coming from, how much water you’re actually losing and the like. Even two inches off the top can actually add up to a ton of water leaving your pool.

Once they diagnose the issue they’ll take action to correct the problem. Sometimes that could mean fixing the lining, filling in cracks in the concrete, addressing any potential issues with the pool’s plumbing, etc. Leaks can come from anywhere and they’re certainly not all created equal.

Now that’s the scary stuff. We want to make sure we end on a little bit more of a positive note and that’s that you shouldn’t panic if you notice leaking. Sometimes even when you do call a pro the problem isn’t a big deal. Especially in warmer climates or in swimming pools with lots of use, excessive water loss can just be part of the deal. Just keep your head on a swivel and be prepared when you notice something’s off.

Hopefully you found today’s blog helpful! If you’re noticing water loss in your pool give us a call and we can point you in the right direction. Until then – good luck!

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How to prepare a pool for rainfall

When you live in places like Clearwater, FL where you get a decent amount of rain, you’ll need to make sure that your swimming pool is protected. As with anything you own, proper maintenance is required to safeguard the health of your swimming pool’s water quality and the integrity of the equipment. 

Today, we’re going to talk about how to maintain your pool when it rains out and share some care tips as to what to do when it does. Let’s jump right in!

What rain can do to your pool

The biggest issue with rainwater is that it contains a certain degree of acidity and what that acidity does is mess with the pH of your pool and can cause issues with the water chemistry. This can lead to algae , green water and a whole host of other significant problems that can stem from a pool who’s chemistry is out of whack.

What you can do to prevent it

When the weatherman says its going to rain, its time to take these measures to help protect your pool:

-Do a quick chemical check on your pool. Check the balance and consider changing the pH and alkalinity of the water. 

-Consider shocking your pool water or even raise the chlorine a little higher than it’s used to. When it rains, it should all balance off.

-Make sure you have a pool-safe algae killer handy. This will help prevent any potential outbreak post-rain.

-Make sure you do a quick brush on the surfaces of your pool. You should be doing this  anyway – but this will help clear and small algae particles and make sure that they flow into your filter and out of your pool. 

-Clean your filter. Once you’ve brushed, scrubbed and the like, clean out your filter. Just be sure to follow you manufacturer’s instructions when you do so. 

If you do all of this and STILL notice irregularities that you’re struggling to fix on your own, give a professional pool service a call and see if you can’t get some reinforcements. Hopefully, you found today’s blog helpful! If you need assistance in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out. Good luck!

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How to make sure you hire a good swimming pool contractor

One of the biggest and most important decisions you’ll make about your swimming pool won’t so much be the design, depth, accessories, flair or aesthetic aspects – but rather the people who you choose to install it. Most of what makes a pool great begins with the contractor. The benefits and performance will begin with the contractor. Unfortunately, so can your pool’s problems. 

If you’re looking for a Tampa swimming pool contractor, we’ve got some tips for you today to consider when making your decision. While we won’t help solve all of your life’s problems, here – we’ll certainly give you some tools that will help make sure you don’t have to experience the worst. Let’s jump right in!

Permits

Any contractor that plays by the rules will have a permit ID number. To find it, you can go down to the respective city hall clerk’s office. This will also help verify that the contractor you’re hiring is insured in case anything goes wrong during the install – and trust us – things go wrong that are the fault of nobody – so that protection is necessary! 

Most local and state governments also have rules that you’ll have to follow – from the obvious to the completely random and inane – and a good contractor will know those rules inside out. A great way to get yourself in a whole heap of trouble literally and figuratively – is to hire a contractor who doesn’t follow local codes and takes shortcuts – because those will add up later on. 

Research and references

We’re fortunate enough to live in a time where researching a business has never been easier – and you’d be a fool to pass up the opportunity to do so in this particular case. Google, Yelp, Better business Bureau, Houzz, Next door, LinkedIn – there are so many places where you can read about and learn from other people’s experiences with a contractor. This will allow you to help read through the pretty marketing sheen on the exterior, dig under the hood and figure out what’s really going on. 

In addition – every contractor worth their salt should have references or people whom they’ve done work for in the past who will vouch for their ability. Ask for these references and call them. Now mind you – it’s important to remember – not everyone’s perfect – and we’re  not either. Even the best businesses can’t make everyone happy and you may see some not so great reviews now and then. Instead of looking with a critical eye – try to see if you notice any trends or reoccurring themes. It may be a blind spot for the business or something they don’t do well. It may not even be something project-essential and something you can live with – but it’s good in terms of setting expectations for yourself that you know what it is and what to reasonably expect.

Get everything in writing

Don’t put a single shovel in the ground until it’s in writing. Make sure your contract is reviewed, and make sure that there’s a clear scope of work, a clear budget and a timeline. Any business who does not produce a contract you should avoid working with altogether – no matter how great they look up front. Like we said before – sometimes even with the best contractors – things happen and come up that are no one’s fault. You need to make sure that you are protected. 

Hopefully you found today’s blog helpful. If you’re looking for a swimming pool contractor in the Largo, FL area, feel free to give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then – good luck! 

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Are smaller swimming pools worth it?

When people think of swimming pools – they usually think of installations that take up a lot of space and monopolize a backyard. In fact, when people are on the fence as to whether or not they want to purchase a pool – it’s that very reason that headlines the list of objections, usually. But not every pool has to be a goliath. 

In fact many installs are smaller pools. Your average pool is only about 12 feet by 24 feet providing you with plenty of room for you and your loved ones to play, swim and relax. In fact, smaller pools come with a number of advantages, some of which we’ll discuss here today.

Here are some of the benefits to having a smaller pool and what that can mean for you. Let’s jump right in!

Less maintenance

Smaller the pool, the less physical maintenance it’ll need and the less money you’ll need to spend! The smaller volume of water will mean you won’t need as many chemicals. The smaller pool means you won’t have to run your filter for excessively long periods of time. Smaller pools take less time to heat and cool – and retain temperature better – meaning that it’ll cost you a lot less on the electricity bill. 

Additionally – when it comes to structural stuff like re-plaster, re-coating, refilling/draining and the like – it’ll cost significantly less. Will you be able to swim endless laps in your pool? No, probably not. But you’ll get many of the same benefits with significantly less cost and effort put into maintaining it. 

Less cost up front

 

While we usually DO recommend you install a heater in your pool, you know what? With a small pool – you usually don’t need one. Here in warmer climates like Tampa, FL – smaller pool means smaller volume of water and that makes it far easier to heat up. Sun will be able to get to the depths of the pool far easier and as we know – this can save you a truck load of money. Solar covers, rings and heating mats are absolutely the way to go. 

More room for other things

Small pools don’t take up space and as such – it gives you more space to add other things to the space so that it’s not suffocated by the pool. Grills, gazebos, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, eating areas – you name it – you’ll be able to bring a lot more life to the party than just the pool. 

If you’re interested in what a smaller swimming pool can do for your home, give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then – good luck!

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Which should you choose: A swimming pool or a spa?

Everyone has their own idea of what relaxing at home looks like. For you it might be slowly sinking yourself into a bubbling spa. For others, it might be a refreshing dip in an in-ground pool. For certain hardcores – it might be both! Whatever your grand vision may be, there’s plenty of things for you to consider when you’re grappling with the decision of whether or not to make these dreams a reality. 

Today, we’re going to talk about a few of the pros and cons of owning a pool or a spa. Truth be told – not every grand vision is realistic depending on your property, so this might be helpful in terms of figuring out which option is for you!

Let’s jump right in!

Swimming pool pros and cons

The benefits to having a swimming pool are fairly obvious. For starters, you’ll have plenty more room to swim which opens up a variety of options in how you use the space. You can take a relaxing swim to cool off, the kids can romp around or you can even swim laps and help to keep yourself in shape. And even if you’re looking for a little extra in the temperature department – you can also add an option to heat your pool.

On the downside, well, those are fairly obvious, too! For starters it takes up more room. Not every yard will be able to accommodate that kind of space. The second is that the bigger the pool, the more maintenance you’ll either have to do yourself – or pay someone else to do. And last, but not least- you may have to close your pool for a portion of the year depending on where you live – which is a whole process unto itself. But at the minimum, there will be a portion of the year where it won’t be in use. 

Spa pros and cons

Spas are a great option if you’re looking to put the hard-relaxation in relaxation. They’re cozy, warm and come with a myriad of benefits. And unlike what we just mentioned above – you’ll be able to use them year-round. They’re also easier to install and take up significantly less space. So if you’re working with a limited yard, you’ll be able to maintain some of that nice, green grass while also having a spa. 

The downsides are something worth considering however. Believe it or not – spas involved as much – and even in a few cases – more maintenance that run-of-the-mill swimming pools. They require more chemicals largely due to the higher water temperatures. The last downside is pretty obvious as well – they’re not for swimming. So if laps, cannonballs and floating on the water are higher up your priority list, you won’t find hot tubs too appealing. 

At the end of the day – it just comes down to you, your personal preferences and what you’re looking to get out of all this. And in a weird way – some of the ‘cons’ we discussed above – might actually be ‘pros’ for you depending on what your priorities are. Whichever you choose, we’re here to help. Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then, we hope you found today’s blog helpful and we’ll look forward to speaking with you down the road! Good luck!

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Taking the edge off: Swimming Pool cost savings

Owning a swimming pool can be one of the best aspects about owning a home. Not only does it add a ton of aesthetic appeal – but not many other home-based spaces can serve as a gathering place for loved ones, an entertainment space and a place to work on your own personal health. 

That being said – pools can be expensive especially if you’re not keeping up with the maintenance. Today, we’re going to talk about some ways that you can save money on your swimming pool and in addition to all the enjoyment you’ll get out of it – you’ll also get the benefit of some significant cost-savings. Let’s jump right in. 

Beat the heat

Managing water temperature in your pool will always be an ongoing battle. Whether your heat your pool with the sun or a heater- you will save money if you can manage to retain the heat. How do you retain heat? Throw a solar blanket over the pool. They not only help to keep the temperature consistent, they also attract heat from the sun, meaning you won’t have to run your heater quite as much. And not running your heater means savings!

Look for sales

This one requires a little extra effort on your part – but be on the lookout for sales, particularly at the beginning of prime pool season. Many stores will offer jump-start prices to get customers in the door. Also look for even better deals at the end of prime pool season. It’s at this time that stores are looking to unload excess supplies they were unable to supply during the season. In some cases you can stock an entire season during this period. Stock up and save!

Waste Water

No, we’re not referring to THAT kind of waste water. We’re talking about actual wasted water. An average pool can lose between 7,000-25,000 gallons of water a year thanks largely to evaporation, leaks and splash out. While we love watching our kids play – if you can be a little bit more mindful about the jumping in and out of the pool – perhaps using the stairs more and keeping up on any issues with your lining or leaks – you can save a lot of money -particularly when it comes to filling and refilling your pool.

Prime the pump

Want to experience some real savings? Be more careful about when you run your pumps. Did you know that electric companies charge more at certain hours? Find out when that is – and run your pump on the opposite of that. Usually most companies run these increased rates from around 7am to 7pm – so run that pump overnight instead. Or find out when the off-peak hours are and plan accordingly. 

Hopefully you found today’s blog helpful. Pools will always cost you some money- but they don’t have to be that expensive and if you do some of the things we mentioned here – it’ll at the very least help to take the edge off. In the meantime, if you need any help with your pool, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. Until then – good luck!

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Hiring a pool contractor: where to start

Make no mistake about it, installing a swimming pool in your yard can be a major undertaking. If you’re not fully prepared, you can end up costing yourself a lot of money and choosing the wrong or an unprofessional contractor can lead to a whole myriad of issues.

So today, we’re going to discuss the basics of what you should look for in a pool contractor. We’ll cover a few points and even some questions that you should ask so you can be more confident in the person you choose to install your pool. Let’s jump right in!

Where to find ‘em

It’s hard to vet a contractor if you don’t know where to look for them. So the first place you want to start is the usual hovel of contractors – and that’s places like Home Advisor, Angie’s list, LinkedIn, NextDoor, Houzz and the like. Not only will it be easier to find contractors, but you’ll be able to potentially see recommendations from past customers, reviews and even photographs of their past work. 

Consider some that you like and make a shortlist of 5 or 6 contractors to interview and do some real digging on.

Credentials mean something

Look whenever it comes to anything in the home improvement space, you’ll find contractors who are worth their weight in gold and others who are literally fly by night amateurs. Swimming pool contractors are no different. They should 100% have certifications and permit identification numbers. Any proposal submitted should have a detailed accounting of what/when/why and how of the permits that you’ll need in order to complete your project. Be sure to look from accreditations from places like Better Business Bureaus and the like. These things matter and it says that the person you’re doing business with is reputable. 

References 

If a contractor doesn’t have references and isn’t super eager to share them with you, then you need to run for the hills. It’s a huge red flag. On the other hand, if you really like a couple of contractors, they can help break the deadlock. Nothing is more powerful than the testimony of a client who is not only satisfied with the work that’s been done, but is also willing to take time out of their day to support the person who did the job. Ask for references and most certainly call them. 

Anything you get, you get in writing

Look – even though contractors and home owners come into things with the best of intentions; things and accidents happen. Make sure every aspect of your job is written down and agreed to on paper with signatures. That way, there’s no ambiguity as to who is responsible for what and expectations are set realistically right off the bat. The clearer things are, the better off all parties will be. 

We’re excited for you that you’ve decided to install a pool at your home. We hope today’s blog was helpful. If you’re interested or living in the Tampa, FL or St Petersburg FL area, give us a call and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Until then – good luck!

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Getting your pool prepared for the summer

Down here in Florida, it’s more or less pool time all the time, but for those of us lucky enough to own one, we all know that the summertime is when our pools will be getting the most traffic. As such, it’s always a good thing to be prepared for the season and make sure things are in good, working order. 

Today, we’re going to talk about a nice, neat pre-summer checklist pool owners should be abiding by in order to make sure their pools are ready for the high-usage summer season. Let’s jump right in!

Pump check, pool check

Before you get down to cleaning your pool, it’s always a good time to just do a walk through and make sure everything is in good working order. Start with the pump and filter systems – check for things like cracks. If you’re not the most technically astute pool owner, absolutely call in a pro to do a once-over. This will help identify any ‘under the hood’ problems that might be lingering; allowing you to get out ahead of them before they become expensive liabilities.

A thorough clean

Even though we don’t really cover our pools down here in the Largo, FL area – there’s still plenty of debris whipping around that can make its way into your pool. Before the busy season starts, a real, genuine deep clean is usually a great idea. Use your brush and vacuum the surfaces by hand so you can get into those hard-to-reach areas that your robotic cleaner might not get to. 

In addition, thoroughly clean out the skimmer box and filter. Debris (rightly so), will build up in your skimmer basket pretty quickly over the winter. A clogged filter will make it more difficult for your water to flow freely and that’ll put additional wear and tear on your pump. So before you get down to business in the summer, clean it out. 

Chemical test

This isn’t just for the summer – this should be really done at the end of every season and performed every two weeks. If you don’t know what levels are appropriate – contact your local pool pro. You’ll want to make sure the chlorine, Alkalinity pH, Stabilizer content, and Calcium hardness is all where it needs to be. 

Safety and surroundings check

Pools are a lot of fun but when people don’t pay attention, they can be dangerous, too. Now’s a great time to make sure your pool fences, gate and railings are in good, working order. Make sure any chemicals or equipment that might be dangerous to children is stored away in a safe place. Also check the surrounding decking for any growth, stains or splinters. Identify areas where there’s cracks, loose pavement, loose fasteners or rot. All of these things can create much larger problems later on. 

Hopefully you found today’s blog helpful. These tips should give you plenty to do as we head into the summer. Enjoy your pool and as always – if you need anything, give us a call today. Until then – good luck!

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How to maintain your pool cover

Investing in a pool cover is one of the best investments you can make in your swimming pool. They prevent access to the pool from kids, pets, wildlife and also help to mitigate heat and water loss – which can add up to serious energy costs over the long haul. 

However, just like anything you buy, pool covers are not ‘set it and forget it’ propositions. You’ll need to take proper care of your cover if you want it to last a long time. Today, we’re going to talk about a few of the routine maintenance things that you’ll want to keep top of mind when you own a pool cover. Let’s jump right in.

Always try to remove standing water as well as dirt and debris

Standing water, leaves and debris can cause stretching in the lining and over a long period of time can even lead to tearing. There’s a lot of ways that you can clear water off your pool cover – but the most common is a simple cover pump – which will remove the water quickly whenever it accumulates. They’re lightweight, easy to store and use – and will get you back in business as quickly as possible. For debris, just consider using a pool brush or broom. 

Always keep an eye on the tracks

If you own an automatic cover – be sure to keep an eye on the tracks that your cover rests on. It’s easy for buildup to occur there – whether it’s sticks, leaves or other random debris. This can cause jamming and other issues. Particularly if you own a saltwater pool, the residue from the salt can damage the tracks (particularly if they’re painted) – so make sure you’re giving them a quick hose down or cleaning them as necessary. 

Always inspect the fabric

There’s a lot of things that can damage your pool cover. Pool chemicals, weather and UV light can all be significant contributors when it comes to breaking down fabric. Every so often, give your cover a ‘once-over.’ Check the fabric for any peeling or weak spots. Make sure the cover isn’t brittle or stiff – it should always be pliable. Inspect the stitching as well as they can become both frayed and damaged over time. And lastly – check your webbing as that’s the most likely thing to get caught up in the fabric guides. 

Professional service and ongoing maintenance
Maintaining a pool can be a lot of work and as such – it might not be a bad idea  to hire a company to come and perform ongoing maintenance on your pool. In addition to the usual cleaning and chemical balancing, they’ll be able to help you take care of and look after your pool cover so that you get the most out of it that you possibly can.

Hopefully you found today’s blog helpful. If you are looking for ongoing maintenance or need assistance helping to find a new cover, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help. Until then – good luck!

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Homes with pools: to buy or not to buy?

Anytime someone takes the plunge and invests in a new home, it’s a significant moment in their life. More than anything, it’s important you do your homework. When the home you want to buy has a swimming pool that comes with it, that can make an already complicated question even more complex. 

So today, we’re going to give you a quick, direct pluses and negatives to purchasing a home with a swimming pool. Nothing sugar coated here and please do understand we’re a little biased! We love us some swimming pools BUT, they do come with a certain level of responsibility that some may not be willing to take on and as such, you need to go into this decision with as clear an understanding as to what you’re getting into as possible.

So here it is – the benefits and negatives to purchasing a home with a swimming pool. Let’s jump right in!

First, the not great. 

We don’t want you to go running for the hills, but people that ADD pools to their property have done their homework and are committed. For those of you buying the home before the pool, you might not be all the way there yet. So here’s what we suggest you consider (the downside) when it comes to investing in a home with a pool.

For starters, your pool will require ongoing, constant maintenance; particularly in peak seasons like the summer. You’ll also pay more on utility bills and insurance premiums as well – so the investment comes with a little extra cost both in terms of money and time. There’s also safety risks associated as well (as well as safety codes you’ll have to follow) – so if you have animals or small kids, there’s going to be some things to think about.

And certainly one of the more challenging aspects will be that although you may be willing to brave the challenge of pool ownership, others may not and when it’s your turn to sell the property, the swimming pool could turn some folks away. 

Again – we think the benefits far outweigh the negatives, but people need to know what’s involved. 

OK, so on to the good stuff

The benefits of owning a swimming pool range from value-oriented to aesthetic.

To begin with – while you MAY be limiting your market when it comes time to sell – the market you do attract will be more eager to spend. To begin with, swimming pools look gorgeous and can really make a property pop. Second, they add significant value to your home, allowing you to sell it at a higher price. IN business as they say – you can’t be everything to everybody; and this is certainly one of those things. But if your pool looks great and is properly maintained – people will pay a premium for your home if they’re ready to take on the challenge. 

Second, there’s lots of health benefits – from having an amazing workout space (swimming is incredible for weight loss and cardio) that will help you improve your physical health; to having a great social space to help with your mental health. And then let’s be honest- it’s pretty great that on a hot, muggy day, you can just throw yourself into the pool and cool down!

As you can see – there’s plenty of positives and negatives to owning a pool in your home. We hope this blog helped make a decision come into a little bit clearer focus. Until then, if you need help you can always give us a call.

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